Methodology for environmental life cycle assessments of information and communication technology goods, networks and services
|Publication Date:||1 December 2014|
This Recommendation aims to provide a methodology for evaluating the environmental impact of ICTs objectively and transparently, and is based upon the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology standardized in [ISO 14040] and [ISO 14044].
This Recommendation can be read by anyone aiming for a better understanding of the specific conditions and requirements applicable to the LCA of ICT goods, networks and services. However, this Recommendation is especially intended for LCA practitioners with a prior knowledge of LCA standards, i.e., [ISO 14040] and [ISO14044].
The purpose of this Recommendation is to:
- provide ICT-specific requirements, in addition to those of [ISO 14040] and [ISO 14044], to ensure a sufficient quality of LCA studies of ICT goods, networks and services; increase the quality of the LCA by adding ICT-specific requirements to those of [ISO 14040] and [ISO 14044];
- harmonize the LCAs of ICT goods, networks and services;
- increase the credibility of LCAs of ICT goods, networks and services;
- increase the transparency, and facilitate the interpretation of LCA studies of ICT goods, networks and services;
- facilitate the communication of LCA studies of ICT goods, networks and services; and
- provide a methodology for telecommunication operators and service providers to assess the environmental load of one or more services carried by their ICT networks.
While recognizing [ISO 14040] and [ISO 14044], including Annex A of [ISO 14040] "Application of LCA", as normative references, this document will give generic and specific requirements for the LCA of ICT goods, networks and services. This Recommendation is valid for all types of ICT goods including end-user goods, and also for ICT networks and services. This document also gives guidance on the assessment of software. Practitioners are encouraged to also consider other environmental aspects in accordance with [ISO 14040] and [ISO 14044].
This Recommendation defines a set of requirements which reflect the quality that practitioners should strive for. At this stage some of the requirements put forward here are considered as challenging due to LCA tool limitations, a lack of data, limitations in data granularity, etc. It is thus recognized that compliance to all requirements in this Recommendation may not be possible at the time of publication. However, to foster results of LCAs becoming more transparent, and for the quality of data and LCA tools to improve over time, this document defines the requirements outlined in the following pages. This Recommendation requires that deviation(s) from the requirements are clearly motivated and reported. For further details regarding compliance refer to clause 5.2.
Comparisons of results from environmental assessments of ICT goods, networks and services, which have been performed by different organizations, are beyond the scope of this Recommendation, as such comparisons would require that the assumptions and context of each study are equivalent.